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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Destinations > Chesapeake / Central US east coast > Chesapeake Bay
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Old 08-16-2010
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Rain reducing wave height.

I had an interesting sail this past Sunday. I have read that rain can reduce wave height and got a number of demonstrations on a 15 nm sail into 22-26 knot winds.

Between the Rhode R. and Herring Bay we were hammered at least four times with very heavy rain. Each time, the Bay flattened noticeably from its 3-4 ft chop. Flattening the water by a foot I would guess, the boat speed picked up each time in the rain.

There are a number to technical papers on the web that describe the effect & process. I was surprised how profound the change can be and how relatively quickly it is made.
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Old 08-16-2010
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yes, it is pretty damn impressive. Had that happen in a thundersquall back in July.
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Old 08-16-2010
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There appears to be some incompletely understood science behind the notion as well. Here are a couple links to papers I've found on the topic. As much as a 28% attenuation noted. When caught in a gale - wish for rain.

Attenuation of Surface Waves...

Dynamic Interaction of Intense Rain...

The Effect of Rain in Calming the Sea
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Last edited by wwilson; 08-17-2010 at 08:44 AM.
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Old 08-16-2010
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Please note, the really heavy rain only affects the surface waves, which are wind driven, but does NOTHING to affect the underlying swell, which are residual from winds elsewhere, not due to the local winds.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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